COVID-19 – Worksite Health and Safety Requirements for Contractors
As providers of critical services, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), UniSource Energy Services and Southwest Energy Solutions (SES) have taken precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 at our companies, protect our workforce and preserve our ability to maintain safe, reliable energy service for customers.
We’re wearing face coverings, following social distancing guidelines, cleaning our tools and equipment regularly, limiting vehicle sharing, working remotely whenever possible and taking other steps to keep our worksites safe.
Contractors provide valuable services to our companies and are critical to our mission. To protect our entire workforce, all contract company employees must follow the following health and safety requirements. We also strongly encourage those working alongside us on public improvement projects to take similar preventative measures that can help keep our communities healthy.
- Comply with your company’s plan and procedures to manage COVID-19 exposure.
- Comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Control & Prevention guidelines.
- Comply with recommendations developed by federal and local governments.
- If requested, provide subject matter expert advice to our companies about the prevention and control of infectious disease, specific to the contractor’s line of work.
- Support and comply with all recommendations and requirements of TEP, UniSource and SES.
- Immediately notify your TEP, UniSource or SES representative if a contractor employee tests positive for COVID-19, is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or misses work while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 after working in close proximity to TEP, UniSource or SES employees or at any company property or worksite. These individuals must not report for work at any TEP, UniSource or SES facility until they have clearance from our company.
- If requested, submit daily a personnel roster to your TEP, UniSource or SES representative.
- Follow all new screening and security procedures at company offices and worksites.
- Instruct contractor employees performing work for our companies to work remotely whenever possible.
- Report any delays to company projects based on pandemic restrictions imposed by your local jurisdiction, or a reduction in your company’s work capacity due to employee illness.
- Continue to focus on safety. Safety remains our company’s highest priority, particularly during this public health challenge. As we adapt to new work practices, we must maintain protections and procedures that allow us to work without injury.
- Use face coverings as described below.
Face Coverings Required Indoors at All Times
To make sure all members of our workforce feel confident about their safety at work, face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times while indoors at our facilities. This requirement applies to all employees and contractors regardless of whether workers are six feet from another person or working inside an office or conference room with the door closed.
This policy was adopted in October 2020 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that the coronavirus can remain airborne for longer periods of time, increasing the risk of infection. Wearing face coverings can reduce exposure to those airborne particles while limiting the concentration of particles that workers emit.
Here are additional guidelines for workers:
- If use of a face covering interferes with a worker’s ability to perform essential job functions, consult with an onsite TEP, UniSource or SES representative about the possibility of alternate mitigation efforts.
- Workers can remove face coverings to eat or drink. They do not need to put it back on between bites or sips. However, workers must resume wearing a face covering after they are finished and should maintain proper physical distance at all times.
- Face coverings may be removed for a safety reason.
Employees and contractors without face coverings will be denied entry into worksites.
This companywide requirement is in line with CDC recommendations for the use of face coverings. These requirements do not change the protocols of our respiratory protection program.
Screening and Prevention
All workers are expected to follow basic preventative measures, including frequent hand washing and proper social distancing (maintaining 6 feet of space between people).
All employees, contractors, and visitors must complete a basic COVID-19 screening before entering company facilities or worksites. The screening process includes the following questions:
- Have you experienced any of the following new or unexpected symptoms in the last 24 hours? This means symptoms are not related to any known health condition such as allergies or other ongoing, chronic, and unrelated illness, including:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Have you or a member of your household tested positive for COVID-19 and/or are awaiting results of a test within the last 10 days?
- Have you had close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes), cared for, or live with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 10 days?
- Have you had close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes), cared for, or live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 10 days?
- Has a public health authority or other source notified you or a member of your household of a potential exposure to COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
Those answering yes to any of the questions will be denied entry to worksites. Anyone who would answer “yes” to any of these questions should not report to work and should notify their supervisor using their established procedures for reporting absences.
Finally, those who report a fever of 100.4 F or higher, or whose temperatures are measured at 100.4 or higher, will not be allowed worksite access for at least 72 hours.
Contractors who are excluded from entry based on the screening will be instructed to notify their respective employer and TEP, UniSource or SES representative for further inquiry and determination about when the contractor may return to work.
If one of your employees is turned away from a worksite, you will be notified and instructed to send your contact information to our Human Resources department at email@example.com. A member of our Human Resources will contact you to discuss the situation further.
Contractor employees who would answer “Yes” to any of the questions above should not report to work and should notify their respective employer and TEP, UniSource or SES representative using their established procedures for reporting absences. Any information obtained in the course of these pre-work screenings shall be treated as confidential medical information and shall be subject to any applicable privacy restrictions.
Those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who suspect they may have been exposed to the virus should contact their personal healthcare provider for guidance about treatment.
Contracting companies that perform work for TEP, UniSource or SES should submit questions, concerns or updated contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.